Initial prenatal blood work

Blood work will include: Complete blood count (CBC) to measure for infection and anemia. Maternal blood type and Rh factor, antibody screen, evaluate your resistance to German measles, syphilis, glucose level, and screen for hepatitis B. Chlamydia and gonorrhea cultures may also be obtained based on your health needs. We request you have a HIV screening blood test if you have not had one recently. Research has shown that pregnant women who are HIV positive will be less likely to transmit the HIV virus to their baby if they are treated with ATZ. Cystic fibrosis carrier testing is also offered at this visit.

Laboratory Testing

CBC: Complete blood count identifies different types of anemia and platelet abnormalities.

Blood Type and Antibody Screen: looks for potential blood group (Rh) incompatibility between your blood and your baby’s blood.

HIV: the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS and testing is offered and strongly recommended. Identification of an HIV infection will aid the prevention of transmission to your newborn.

Syphilis: testing is important. Syphilis can cause severe birth defects if it is not detected during your pregnancy, therefore testing is mandatory.

Hepatitis B: the Hepatitis B virus can lead to liver disease and liver cancer. Special precautions are taken at the time of delivery to prevent transmission to your baby if you are found to be a carrier.

Hepatitis C: testing for the Hepatitis C virus will be performed for those patients interested in a water birth.

Urine Culture: tests for urinary tract infections, infections, which are more common in pregnancy, usually less symptomatic and can lead to kidney infections if left untreated.

Bacterial Vaginosis: This type of vaginal infection that may cause preterm delivery.

There are special tests that are offered during pregnancy depending on your health needs and personal requests. A summary of these is as follows:

9 weeks:

Chorionic Villus Sampling is offered at 9 weeks. Women that are at an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities may consider this test. You will be given an appointment with a perinatalogist, (high risk pregnancy physician) for this procedure. CVS is performed by inserting a small catheter or tube with the guidance of an ultrasound into the uterus to retrieve a sample of the placenta.

10-11 weeks:

Nucal translucency is a test done by ultrasound at 10-11 weeks. It is a measurement of the space behind the fetal neck. Fetuses with a thickened nucal translucency may be at risk for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome. In conjunction with the nucal translucency a blood test can be done at this time to screen for chromosomal abnormalities. This blood test does not screen for neural tube defects, so an AFP should be considered at 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Women that are at an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities may consider this test. This test is optional. You will be given an appointment with a perinatalogist, (high risk pregnancy physician) for this testing. 

15 to 19 weeks:

Amniocentesis is offered to women that are at increased risk for birth defects. This test is performed by inserting a needle through the abdomen and into the uterus to withdraw a sample of amniotic fluid.

You will be referred to a perinatalogist if you would like this test.

20 to 24 weeks:

Ultrasound is the use of sound waves to create a picture of the baby while still in the uterus. It evaluates the age of the fetus, size, rate of growth, position of fetus and placenta, fetal movements, heart rate, twins, and some birth defects. An ultrasound is usually done at the 20 or 24th week of pregnancy.

22 to 28 weeks:

Gestational diabetes screen- this is a blood test that is taken one hour after you finish a glucose drink that is provided at the time you first arrive for your regular visit. It is recommended that you do not eat any concentrated sugars for eight hours before this test. This is not a fasting test. You may eat, just not anything with a lot of sugar in it.

28 to 42 weeks:

Non-stress test- this test is used to check the well being of the baby. This is not a routine test. It is done when there is a suspected fetal or maternal problem. For instance, a women complaining that she hasn’t felt her baby move enough, she develops gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during her pregnancy. At the 28th week visit the nurse will go over an information sheet that allows the mother to keep a record of how often her baby moves in a twenty-four hour period. As soon as the mother detects that the baby is not moving adequately she should immediately notify the office or if after office hours the physician on call.


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